Diamondback Terrapin Sighting Report
Please help the Brevard zoo

Spring and summer are roasting the IRL river again, & may see diamondback terrapin hatchlings along the Indian River Lagoon. You can help the zoo conservation team monitor and track this unique species and its success in the wild by becoming a citizen scientist.

All you have to do is report sightings of any diamondback terrapin you see using the Brevard Zoo reporting form.

Kayak Season has returned to the Lagoon.

Wait, did it ever depart?



Photo Credit: Brevard Zoo


I have reported seeing three diamondback terrapins so far.

One was stuck on the crawlerway at Kennedy Space Center (I rescued and released to Banana Creek)

Saw another terrapin while Kayaking Turkey Creek

And then one in the shallows of the Banana River NO Motor Zone while I was wade fishing.

I did not report the ones in the head waters of the Indian River Turnbull Creek (did not know about the zoo webpage)


Photo Credit: Christopher Boykin (zoo Photo)

I may be little odd.....however I was so excited a few years back when seeing my first diamondback terrapin--I did not even know they existed....and there was a spotted, white-ish turtle (well terrapin) in the brackish water of the Banana River. Looked like it was half snapping turtle-half??.

Could not wait to tell someone-however no one that I knew was interested in "another water turtle"

I was pretty excited to see the one in Turkey Creek-several miles upstream in the fresh water. (I do not know how far upstream they will travel into freshwater)


Form to fill out when sighting a terrapin


Brevard Zoo page on diamondback terrapins


The Zoo also sent me information about terrapins



And the other turtles or tortoises of Kennedy Space Center?

Gopher Tortoise feasting on weeds.

Kennedy Space Center the surrounding Indian River Lagoon, Mosquito Lagoon and Banana River/Banana Creek is home to a wide assortment of shell toting reptiles.

Eastern Box & mud turtles inhabit the wet lands, the Gopher Tortoise inhabits the dry areas.

Various types of fresh water turtles are abundant as is the lagoon estuary which is home to juvenile sea turtles.


Just another KSC turtle story. (not a terrapin story)

A couple of years ago near Dummit Cove on North Merritt Island I was driving north up State Road 3, when I happened upon a stunned alligator snapping turtle lying in the road. It had been hit by a vehicle but not killed.

Since I have always been fans of turtles, I stopped to help the rather large (but not giant) snapping turtle. I would hazard a guess the snapper was the size of a car steering wheel.

With both hands I cautiously grabbed the non responsive turtle by the back of the shell out reach of turtle jaws I hoped and "attempted" the word being attempted to carry it to the fresh water ditch along the road.

The turtle unexpectedly became 'un-stunned' and rather snake like, the dino-turtle twisted its head and neck swingng back, snapping and just missing my fingers.

And as always- I was shocked at the speed of the head.

Before I could release the turtle in panic, both back clawed feet dug into my hand drawing blood.

I dropped the dino turtle and may have said a few cuss words, but I was very worried about those dirty talons that had just tore my wrists.  -I tried to clean the cuts as best as I could, seeing how I was in a remote area with no topical medicine.

Small lesson learned, don't pick up the snappers.

FYI, I told the KSC biologist about my snapping turtle adventure and the comment was "The snapping turtle must have been a male"

I found his comment funny, but realized with all the snapping turtles I had caught for fun, that had been the first to ever claw me.

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